“Of course you judge parents in restaurants before you have kids. That’s how the human race survives, each person thinking they can do it better before finding out no you bloody can’t!” My brother (father of 2 boisterous boys) recently sent me this quote and it really struck a chord.
Ever think back to before you had kids & remember the naivety? Watching some poor parent struggling with a toddler tantrum while thinking “Well, when I have kids…” or “I would never…”.
Almost 45% of Australian parents say they have felt directly shamed for their parenting approach. The things parents are most often shamed for? Their child’s behaviour, the way they discipline, amount of screen time & being a working parent.
Research shows that social media has contributed to parents feelings of inadequacy. When you only see the happy snaps & fun activities, not the meltdowns or hard days it creates a ‘pretty’ version of perfect parenting. This can cause parents to fear they’re not living up to the (unattainable) standard that is being set. The effects of internalising these idealised standards of perfect parenting are hugely detrimental.
On top of this self-judgement, parents are often held responsible for children’s behaviour in the moment. What’s missing when these judgements are being made is the context that surrounds the behaviour. You don’t know if that child has a development delay of some kind, of if they’re hungry, tired, sick or just had a bad day.
On the other hand, research demonstrates parents who are shown compassion (or show compassion towards themselves) are less stressed and have a greater sense of well-being. A little compassion & kindness is a small price to pay for happier, healthier parents & kids.
At Science Minded, I fully embrace a ZERO JUDGEMENT attitude. Parenthood is a tough gig! We all make choices that are the best we can make in the moment. Sure they might not be the fit right for others & that's okay. We support and embrace everyone's right to do what works for them and their family.
References: Cha et al 2020, Mitchell et al 2018; Liss et al 2013